We’ve all been through the rebellious teenage years of our lives. The times where you would much rather be out with friends. The times where your home life matters little to you. The times where you refuse to notice the sacrifices made by mom and dad. Your thoughts… your actions… all things you regret and wish you could take back in your adolescent years. If this has any meaning to you, then you are not alone. Follow both a fox determined to save her young from a hungry wolf and the touching story about a son’s attempt to cope with the loss of his father in the relaxing adventure, The First Tree.
You begin your journey in the eyes of a fox. Your children have gone missing and it is your job to find and save the poor innocent creatures from the threats that lie in the wilderness. Within the first few minutes of this visually astonishing story, you see a flock of birds fly off from a corpse on the ground. That ate-out rotted body is sadly one of your young. You sit in sorrow but have no time to grieve since your mission still stands. One more child is in jeopardy, and he will not suffer the same fate as the last. Without haste, you begin your journey in locating and saving your only other beloved child.
As you wander the beautiful verdant forest and pass the scurrying bunnies and birds, you will find beacons of light in the distant. Make your way to those and you will find the true story behind The First Tree. You can interact with the foot of these beacons to dig up an artifact that has a specific meaning to a certain someone named Joseph. Joseph is the unfortunate individual who has recently lost his father. Whether this fox digs up a wooden train or a toy car, each item has a meaning and a story. Joseph is narrating these experiences to his wife, Racheal. At the start, the stories seem mundane. Ones about a show and tell, and gifts from dad. I found The First Tree tiring, spending three minutes running from one beacon to the next, just to hear a common school tale. I simply found the game… boring for the first ten minutes, but then the story starts to get interesting. Each story begins to tie with the next and leaves you in suspense until you find your path to the next beacon. I soon found myself hooked and engaged with Josephs sorrow.
There are no complex controls in The First Tree, but with the few the game offers, I found the movement buggy and some obstacles that should be resized. You can only run and jump, but if needed, an extra jump is granted while airborne to carry you further. If you use your second jump late, then you will travel a great distance, but a low height. If you rapidly use both jumps, then you can achieve a great height, but risk losing the distance. The choice is yours depending on the obstacles present. The only problem is that I found a couple vertical walls difficult to scale normally. I had to find unconventional paths or angles to achieve the height needed. While it may have been an issue on my understanding of the controls, I found myself in unnatural places attempting to hop a wall.
While some walls may have stood out of reach, most of the others where scalable through power-ups. Actually, I should rephrase. The one and only power-up in the game… butterflies! Yep, you heard me, colorful butterflies. Along the course of your journey, you are bound to cross paths with a circle of purple butterflies. Walk through this circle and the butterflies will follow you as you walk. Once you take that leap of faith, you will rise in the air higher than you ever could with the standard double jump. Using these butterflies will be essential at some points to progress further in the story
During your adventure in The First Tree, you will encounter light enhanced orbs. These can be collected and presented in a counter displayed on your screen. While me revealing the use of these orbs will spoil a piece of the ending, I will say to collect as much as you can find. What you do with these orbs makes the game so much more special and unique to not only you but other players that choose to tackle the game.
While the controls felt unnatural and buggy at times, it should not undermine the heartfelt story and beautiful graphics of The First Tree. The land is vast, and the mountains are wide. The world is yours to travel and uncover the meaning of understanding death. You may come to find that Joseph and the fox are not so different after all, and the more you play, the more you will understand the true purpose of The First Tree.
EnomView Score: 8.5 out of 10
Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/555150/The_First_Tree/